Division III Team Of The Week: Week 6 - Eastwood


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Division III Team Of The Week: Week 6 - Eastwood

PEMBERVILLE - The future is bright at Eastwood with just one senior starter in the everyday lineup for the Prep Baseball Report Division III Team of the Week.

“We’re really young,” explained Kevin Leady, whose team has won eight straight games to improve to 21-2 on the season.

Shutout wins over Fostoria (12-0) and Genoa (1-0) opened last week before a come-from-behind 11-10 nine-inning victory over Defiance, the sixth-ranked D-II team in the state, closed out the week on Saturday.

“After we beat Genoa 1-0, I told the team our approach had to be better at the plate,” Leady noted. “We took a ton of BP this week and it paid off. We got down to Defiance 6-0 and we chipped away. All of a sudden it’s 6-4 and we’re in it. To see their top pitcher and to come out on top says a lot about our team.”

Junior catcher Andrew Arntson has been a big part of the success of this year’s Eagles, batting .460 with 27 runs, 28 RBIs, three home runs, three triples and 11 doubles, which ties a school record.

“He’s having an awesome year,” pointed out Leady.

Seven others are batting better than .300 for Eastwood including Isaac Badenhop, the only senior starter who plays left field or center. The 92nd-rated 2021 outfielder in Ohio is hitting .360 with 20 runs scored.

Sophomore Case Boos has been a major contributor with a .380 batting average while anchoring the infield at shortstop.

“We made a big switch moving Isaac Cherry to second base and putting Case Boos in at shortstop and they’ve both been stellar,” Leady said. “It’s been great for us.”

Cherry is third in runs (28) and RBIs (22) with more offense coming from sophomore first baseman Jordan Pickerel, junior Lake Boos and sophomore Jarod Bonfiglio. Pickerel is hitting .321 with 10 doubles, Boos is batting .313 with a team-best 33 runs scored and Bonfiglio is at .313 with 25 RBIs.

Though Eastwood is averaging .320 as a team, Leady points to other areas of the game as carrying the squad this year.

“Pitching and defense are our strong points,” explained Leady, whose Eagles have thrown seven shutouts while allowing just one run in three other games. In the win over Fostoria last week, five pitchers combined on a no-hitter.

“Our hitting has been okay, but pitching and defense has been big,” Leady reiterated.

Lake Boos, who threw a shutout in the 1-0 win over Genoa last week, is the staff ace with a 6-1 mark. In 43.1 innings, the junior right-hander has struck out a school record 80 while posting a 1.61 ERA. Sophomore righty Ethan Rapp is the number two, throwing 37.2  innings with 58 Ks and a 6-1 record while Pickerel, sophomore Jackson Bauer and senior Jared McNulty bring solid depth to the staff. Pickerel is 3-0 with a 0.54 ERA, Bauer 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA and McNulty 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA. Toby Marten, a sophomore, gives Leady a southpaw to put on the mound as well.

“Control what you can control,” the 11th-year head coach of Eastwood said about the keys to success from here on out, including Thursday when the Eagles take on Lake with a chance to win at least a share of the Northern Buckeye Conference championship.

Lake and Otsego are the only teams that have come out on top this year against Eastwood, which is trying to be the first squad from the school to ever advance to the state tournament. The 1977, 1989 and 2017 teams all made it to the regional finals.

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